What is Dutch Immersion?
If we break it down into parts, ‘Dutch’ refers to the people, language and culture of the Netherlands, while ‘immersion’, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is ‘instruction based on extensive exposure to surroundings or conditions that are native or pertinent to the object of study’.
Combined, Dutch Immersion is the term used for 2-week intensive courses which have been developed by Taal Taal language institute in The Hague. Each includes 75 hours of classroom instruction plus required homework which takes place over 10 days, to the point where the student is completely immersed in Dutch.
There are three levels of Dutch Immersion…
- Complete Beginner: this is for students who have no prior knowledge of Dutch. Upon completion, the expected result is for the student to understand and speak Dutch at the A1 skill level.
- Intermediate: this course is for students who already possess an A1 knowledge of Dutch. Upon completion, the expected result is for the student to be at an A2 Dutch skill level.
- Inburgering: this course is for students with an A1-A2 knowledge of Dutch. Upon completion, the expected result is for the student to be fully prepared for the inburgering (social integration) state exam.
When the Taal Taal development team first began to test the Dutch Immersion program, they monitored students’ absorption and retention rates and found similar cyclical patterns where comprehension through standard instruction would become exhausted. To offset this mental fatigue, they found it was important to change up the routine which led to the addition of different forms of learning being introduced. In the past, these have included such activities as watching a Dutch language film, going on a guided tour of the Binnenhof given in Dutch, visiting a local supermarket to buy items such as ‘broodjes kaas’ and ‘karnemelk’ (a bit of shock therapy since karnemelk is not regular milk but buttermilk), pub-type quizzes in Dutch and watching short comedy sketches in Dutch on YouTube.
Since its founding in 2008, linguistics research has been a key initiative at Taal Taal, which has led to the development of unique learning programs. In addition to Dutch Immersion, these have included the ‘All You Can Talk’ weekly conversation sessions and such practical workshops as ‘Job Application in Dutch’ in 2016 and the upcoming ‘Partner Day’ language therapy session on Saturday 1st July.
Taal Taal Director, Serhat Sakarya, sees several differentiating elements which separate his Scheveningen-based language institute from others in Holland:
- The breadth of Dutch language training courses offered which include Dutch Immersion, standard classes (at every skill level), accelerated classes, private lessons and custom-designed workshops for large organizations and businesses.
- The range of language training offered which includes English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Polish, Russian, Turkish, Chinese and ten more, all taught by native speakers. The common trait across all of them is their passion for teaching.
- Taal Taal’s focus on linguistics research and using findings to develop new training programs and to continually improve existing courses so that students are guaranteed the best learning experience.
Visit PartnerDay.nl for details about the upcoming ‘language therapy’ workshop.